How WIDE is Your Life?

man-372099_640How wide is your life?

Have you considered the width of your existence? We tend to worry about the length of our lives and the width of our backsides but did you know that God wants to free us from a narrow existence.

Last week, I watched two little children at play. They both were free to entertain themselves but one was tentative and reserved. He made himself small and occupied himself with one toy, nervously, as though he didn’t trust his free time.

The other child raced about the space touching everything he was permitted to touch and then settled on opening his arms wide and spinning in the center of the room. Watching him made me smile.

Too often, we are like the first child, making ourselves small for no reason other than fear and mistrust when God is calling us to spread our arms wide and spin about in the fields of His grace.

Recently, I helped prepare a meal for a church gathering. There was food at this meal, let me tell you, scads of food, food to feed several armies.

I love Italian bread and there was Italian bread in abundance. I remember seeing it lined up against the wall in the preparation area in bags. As it was sliced, it was placed in see-through plastic bags and there was enough bread for us to have the meal ten times over.

When it came time to eat, I walked through the buffet line and filled my plate. When I reached the basket of bread, conscious of how I appeared to others, I took a single slice and moved on. To my dismay, the slice I’d chosen was mostly hole and very little bread. There wasn’t even enough to butter.

For a moment, I thought to reach back and take another slice. I knew there was plenty. I knew at the end of the meal they would be giving bread away in large bags to anyone who wanted it. But, rather than take another slice, I made myself small and moved on.

I felt God’s eyes on me as I walked to my table. I felt His concern for my action but I was annoyed. Why make such a big deal about a slice of bread? I grumbled in my mind. I’m just being polite. I’m being conscious of my waistline. I’m being thoughtful of others.

No. Firmly, He called me out. You are living narrow in the wideness of my mercy and grace. You know there is an endless supply of bread and if you trusted that you are my child and that is your house and that all I have is yours, you would take what you wanted and enjoy with my blessing.

But you still act as one who is afraid, living like a guest in a house that is your home.

Seems like a big deal over a slice of bread but I knew it wasn’t about bread, it was about the Bread of Life and it was about my Father’s desire for me to enjoy the freedom He purchased for me at great price.

When Paul writes about God, there is an expansiveness to the words he chooses like in this passage from Ephesians 3:8-13 ESV

“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.”

And then Paul speaks of a wideness again in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 ESV “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.”

This isn’t about material things or blessings on earth, it’s about opening up to the vast riches available to us through Christ.

It’s about living wide in the open fields of God’s love.

It’s about refusing to make ones’ self small when God has redeemed us to inhabit the full space of His idea of us.

It’s about stretching out our arms and spinning around in the room He designed and built with body and blood of Jesus Christ.

How wide is your life? Is it time to stretch, loved one?

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    The Conversation

  1. diane homm says:

    Thanks Lori…wow. I am too often like the little boy with one toy, or “just being polite” or hmmm…. waiting too long to do something… till the opportunity is gone. I need to stretch 🙂 and not be inhibited by the smallness of my own thinking! God bless you my friend.

  2. scw1217 says:

    This is so beautiful. Loved it!